Long Island Muslim woman victim of hate crime

Zohreh Assemi, 50, owns Givan Nail and Skin Center, a high-end nail salon in a cluster of chic stores near Birch Hill Road called The Plaza. At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Assemi was opening her second-floor shop when two men burst out of a bathroom across the hall. They grabbed her from behind, put a gun to her head and forced her inside, she said. There, they slammed her head on a counter, shoved a towel in her mouth, smashed her hand with a hammer and sliced her face, neck, back and chest with a knife and a box cutter, she said. “They were cursing, ‘ — — Muslim, leave Locust Valley, leave The Plaza. Go back to the place you came from,'” she recalled. They scrawled anti-Muslim messages on her mirrors and tore the place up, she said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on the FBI Sunday to investigate the beating as a hate crime. “The bias attack on Zohreh Assemi is an indicator of the rising trend of Islamophobia that is growing in certain segments of American society and is promoted by a small minority of Islamophobes,” said Aliya Latif, civil rights director of the group’s New York chapter. Last year, the group saw a 9 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes across the country, she said.

Newsday, 16 September 2007